A distinction is drawn in this passage between ‘trials’ (verses 2, 12), which may have positive effects (cf. 1 Pet. 1:7), and ‘temptation’ (verses 13f.), which is the enticement to evil conceived within the human heart.
- Verses2-7, 12. What is our mental attitude to trials to be? What is their purpose and goal? In trying situations, wisdom (cf. 3:17) is necessary. How in particular is this wisdom to be obtained?
- Verses 13-15. What is the origin of temptation, and what are the inevitable products of yielding to it? How can we avoid being deceived, and gain strength to overcome?
- Verses 9-11, 16-18. Contrast the impermanence of men, poor and rich alike, with the changeless consistency of God our Father. What also is God’s will for us, and what means does he use to fulfill it? How should these truths influence our attitude to life?
- Verse 17b. The eternal Source of light is not, like the heavenly bodies, subject to Variation or eclipse.
- Verse 18. ‘A kind of first fruits’: the first fruits were evidence that the harvest had begun, and promise of more to follow.